TSA to Public

Sure, pat-downs are invasive and sometimes angering. Obviously. We knew people would probably respond as they have. And that agent should have let that woman keep her nipple rings. But get used to it. Whine all you want — we’re doing this. We have two choices, as we see it. One, the TSA eases up and some Islamic wacko slips through and something happens and the TSA gets roasted by the media and the top guy gets fired. Or two, bureaucratic molestations continue and flyers seethe and maybe the wacko doesn’t slip through. We have the power, you don’t, sorry but this is the world we live in, unbutton your pants.

  • MikeSchaeferSF

    I’m not about to say the TSA are wonderful — gov’t bureaucracies never are, and training high-school drop-outs to do sensitive security stuff for minimum wage is idiotic.

    But still, you’re right-on here. All these “don’t touch my junk” cretins who are throwing around the words “fear-mongering” and “fascism” — uh, where were they for 8 years of Bush/Cheney? In a coma? They’re the Exact. Same. People. who will say “Obama didn’t keep us safe” if. God forbid, something bad happens.

  • Krillian

    The Big-Government Bush & Cheney built up needs to be addressed, argued against, and dismantled. I’m ready for airline security to go back to per-9/11 levels as far as passengers go.

  • Spartan Tell

    Citizen, we need to see your identification, your travel papers and perform an object scan and a cavity search of your person. Caution your children to obey. Agree and say nothing or you will be taken aside for interrogation by the authorities.

    Thank you, Citizen. You may now travel about your own country. Move along.

  • coxcable

    In just nine years patriotism has gone from “Let’s Roll!” to “Don’t touch my junk!”

    Americans can be such pussies.

  • shanes5

    I want to fly with peace of mind like everyone else, but my concern isn’t about the privacy issues of the current system (I was selected and went through the backscatter screening recently Ft. Lauderdale–it was no big thing).

    I thin in all the uproar we’re missing a couple of points. Since 9/11, there hasn’t been a serious threat that was initiated from within the United States. The shoe/underwear bombers as well as printer cartridge threats all began on flights from overseas. Is this process really making us any safer? The former Security Head for El Al (Israeli Airline) doesn’t think so, and they know a thing or two about being targeted by terrorists.

    Also, if someone is truly committed to an attack, there’s still a way around the current process. Hide whatever explosive/weapon in the anal cavity, opt out of the

    backscatter machine, pass the pat down and get on the

    plane. There’s always a workaround and this one seems

    pretty obvious.

    Again, I want to fly safely, but I’m not really confident that this process is much more than an expensive dog and pony show.

  • TL

    “uh, where were they for 8 years of Bush/Cheney?”

    They were being white and middle class, and therefore not particularly touched by the Bush/Cheney surveillance state.

  • Michael

    uh, where were they for 8 years of Bush/Cheney? In a coma? They’re the Exact. Same. People. who will say “Obama didn’t keep us safe” if.

    I was in the process of being really disappointed by the “accomplishments” from the guys for whom I voted (couldn’t pull the trigger for Kerry…sorry). So I voted for Obama, and hey, guess what, authoritarian government is still authoritarian. Please, accept our kabuki security theatre because it’s really nothing more than a government jobs program. I get it. Not impressed.

  • Orotund Vowel

    If we all stay home and do nothing more than hang out in front of our computers reading HE then hardly any Americans will ever be injured.

    If we go outside, the odds of being hurt go up a little.

    Get on the highway they go up a lot.

    And so forth.

    You can sit around peeing yourself every time something jumps, or you can get on with your life.

    Do people really care about safety? If they did motorcyclists and bicyclists would wear the same helmets.

    God I miss Mike Royko.

  • Chauncey

    May US and A kill every single terrorist.

  • Mr. F.

    Going crazy to make domestic airport “security” safer is, plain and simple, a complete joke, a colossal waste of money, and ultimately ineffective.

    Let’s say a domestic terrorist wants to board an aircraft with explosives on their body and detonate mid-flight. Okay, fine — but that assumes two things: 1. they were able to get explosives here in the U.S. — okay, maybe — and 2. they are already *in America*.

    Given those two realities… why exactly would they risk everything just to get on the plane and blow it up? The odds of successfully carrying out that plan, as we’ve seen over the last few years, are miniscule. Why not blow up the security checkpoint in the airport, which would be far easier and has EVEN MORE PEOPLE waiting in line and would cause greater casualties? Better, why not attack something totally unsecured and “safe”? Can you imagine what a nightmare a bombing at a shopping mall, sporting event, restaurant, etc. would be? You’d have mass panic across the country. And WORSE: such an attack would cause a government freakout and overreaction that would do the terrorists’ jobs for them: metal detectors everywhere we go, security cameras everywhere we look, restrictions on shipping, and so on… and that’s just for starters.

    Instead, the TSA seems convinced that there is only one possible attack coming: a passenger suicide bombing mid-flight. And this is what they’re getting hundreds of millions of dollars to defend, and make airline travel an even greater inconvenience. The Dept. of Homeland Security needs to be PROACTIVE and not reactive. Instead, we get an overzealous TSA that relies on body scanners and full-body patdowns.

    And when it comes to airline security, El Al has it right — ask probing questions. Mix things up. Think about passengers’ travel histories and stories. BE INTELLIGENT. (Which is why such a system isn’t likely to work in America…) But don’t think there’s a purely technological solution to the threat of hijackings and bombings.

  • aaronhal9000

    Have we forgotten the 4th Amendment of the Constitution?

    “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

    What is the “probable cause” for their search?

    There is none. It’s yet another medium for paving over the law and making our founding document seem useless.

    The Patriot Act might as well be the new founding document of this country. It’s intention of making this a police state is quite clear. Why you all submit so willingly defies logic. Liberty is denied by degrees.

    If you feel the denial of your privacy is justified in the cause of fighting the “war on terror” ignore what I’ve said, but if you have any sense of reason think of how much things like this undermine the ideals we share.

  • longrunner

    There is medication available to treat paranoia, America. Talk to your doctor.

  • Rev. Slappy

    The 9/11 terrorists didn’t sneak any explosives through airport security. All they had were box cutters. Blowing up an airport inflicts just as much damage as blowing up an airplane. This is what the terrorists want — to scare Americans into overreacting.

  • Mr. F.

    Slappy: while I do agree with you on your larger point (and of the other comments above)… don’t forget that the 9/11 terrorists DID sneak “explosives” through airport security — art clay with “timers” and “wires” and “detonators” that they used to convince the passengers they would blow up the plane if they tried to fight back. You could make the argument that had tighter airport screenings been in place the morning of 9/11… the passengers would have figured that the “explosives” were in fact fake, and would have all done what those on United 93 did. (If they had been able to get that stuff on the planes in the first place.)

    That’s all besides the point, though — we all take risks in getting out of bed each morning. Lock yourself in your house… and you’ll keep out the paramedics who come to help when you fall down the stairs or have a heart attack or choke on your food or have an aneurysm. Live a little, America. Don’t give in to fear.

  • Nigel Tufnel

    I have a solution for all of you who feel these TSA safety precautions are unnecessary…

    Why don’t airlines start offering “Don’t touch my junk” flights for individuals who are comfortable with minimal security checks for themselves and their fellow passengers?

    While you and your fellow freedom-fighters are nervously eyeing each other at 30000 feet, I’ll happily fly amongst my fellow ‘paranoids’, secure in the knowledge that we’ve all consented to the most stringent security measures available.

  • crazynine

    Third option understandably ignored by Wells: profiling.

    Not racial profiling– national and behavioral profiling. The Israelis do it successfully, perhaps they know something we don’t.

  • Michael

    While you and your fellow freedom-fighters are nervously eyeing each other at 30000 feet, I’ll happily fly amongst my fellow ‘paranoids’, secure in the knowledge that we’ve all consented to the most stringent security measures available.

    If you honestly feel that by going through a backscanner and/or pat-down that you’ve all consented to the most stringent security measures available, then I’d like you to finance my movie. It’s about people who believe anything that they’re told because if makes them feel good.

    Please tell me you’re joking.

  • J. Ho

    this whole thing is ridiculous. who cares if airport security touches your junk or not. its not a problem. better safe than sorry

  • dangovich
  • Kakihara

    cox: “Americans can be such pussies.”

    So why don’t you enlist to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan?

  • mizerock

    crazynine: exactly what I came here to post. El Al has FAR more threats (real ones!) to deal with than any US airline. And yet, their (effectively, apparently) methods don’t involve penetration and high-tech scanners. Instead, well-trained agents screen for reactions to screening questions.

    [insert comment here on the US obsession with technology over human intelligence-gathering]

    Here’s the first relevant link I found – hey, it’s an interview that was on Fox News, from about a year ago!


  • Deathtongue_Groupie

    aaronhal9000 has it exactly right. They won and we lose every time we have to deal with this ineffective approach.

    I have holiday travel coming up next month and have already added an extra hour to my departure in anticipation of being patted down. Not crazy about TSA cretins getting their jollies, but way, way more concerned about what I’m being radiated with.

    Keep in mind, those machines were approved during the last administration which wasn’t exactly science-friendly (or even science-knowledgeable) so just how “safe” do you think the levels really are?

  • coxcable

    Kakihara, if this country were mature enough to not turn terrorists attacks into stupid politics, then maybe these pat downs wouldn’t be necessary.

    But this this the same political climate that made the BP oil spill about Obama’s failure to invent a technology before we needed it. Wells is right, this whole TSA thing is the GOP moving their bishop down the board to take Obama’s king.

    11 months ago some dude taped a bomb to his nards. Not 11 years ago. 11 months. The guy was black. Raising profiles on all black people is just unacceptable. The only solution is to get tough. TOO tough.

    So here we are. Security vs freedom. Conservatives and terrorists working together to divide our country.

  • dangovich

    “Give me liberty or give me death.”

    Patrick Henry, 1775

    “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

    Nathan Hale, 1776

    “Anal probes are the least we can do to keep us safe from the terrorists.”

    Average American, 2010

  • Krillian

    Ah, safety.

    Do you realize how many people DIE in car accidents every year?

    Time to ban cars.

  • thatmovieguy

    Back in the ’70s and even into the ’80s, the airlines usually treated you as if you were an honored guest: courteous service, concessions if you were delayed or inconvenienced, free food and drink (OK, so it wasn’t always good, but it was available), etc. Nowadays, you are treated as if you’re a lice-infested, SARS-infected prisoner being taken to the pen. These “security measures” have given everyone carte blanche to be rude, callous and utterly cold; now, as an added benefit, you can have them smack you in the crotch or zap you with radiation. After my recent experiences with the airlines — especially a flight that was abruptly canceled with no explanation and no apology; when someone calmly asked an airline employee simple questions, she suggested she felt “a little tense” and hinted that security might have to be called in — I have made a promise to myself that I will not be flying anywhere unless absolutely necessary. Amtrak may take a lot more time, but the staff is generally very polite and you arrive with your dignity intact. Oh, and in a couple of years when all the airlines begin weeping about bankruptcy again and begging for federal bail-outs, I hope everyone turns a deaf ear.

  • longrunner
  • Kakihara

    cox: My bad. Misunderstood your angle.

  • DavidF

    Everyone who thinks it’s all a dog and pony show is right.

    As if making 10s of 1000s of people a day take off their shoes because that’s what one guy tried a few years ago makes any difference. Here’s a secret, security people: They’ll probably try something DIFFERENT next time.

    It’s not just that El Al asks probing questions, it’s that they have trained security personnel do it instead of baggage clerks. They’re rolling their eyes at you over there because they don’t need any of this stuff to make their airport secure.

    this is all theatre and there are methods are:

    a) more effectual

    b) cheaper

    c) less invasive

    that are being ignored for reasons well above my pay grade.

    I don’t wanna go so far as saying the more this goes on, the more terrorists win but, really, does anyone actually want to STOP AND THINK about security or are they just going to throw in fancy scanners and pat down people ad infinitum?

  • SaveFarris

    We have two choices, as we see it. One, the TSA eases up and some Islamic wacko slips through and something happens…

    If that is indeed a likely scenario, then why are we frisking nuns, grandmas, and 5 year olds?

    All of this is a Kabuki theater in the name of political correctness. The reason people are going so nutso over this is because there’s no reason for any of it: searching someone who hasn’t been back and forth to Yemen for the last few months is irrelevant and unneccessary.